"The Dark Knight Rises" was #1 at the box office again, but its two-week gross trailed that of its predecessor by $25 million. The final entry in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy grossed an estimated $64.1 million during its second weekend in theaters for a domestic total of $289.1 million, behind 2008's "The Dark Knight."
Nevertheless, the Warner Bros. superhero franchise posted slightly higher numbers than some analysts had predicted, despite a poll from Hollywood research firm NRG that reported as many as 20 percent of moviegoers were reluctant to return to the theater in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado. During a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado, a gunman opened fire on the audience, killing 12 and wounding more than 50.
The studio canceled premiere events in Paris and other cities, but "The Dark Knight Rises" was still able to collect $11.3 million in France when it opened there over the weekend. The movie has made $248.2 million abroad playing in 57 international markets.
"Ice Age: Continental Drift" was once again #2, this time collecting $64 million. The fourth installment in the animated series has collected $114.8 million overall.
Neither of the weekend's new releases fared well. R-Rated ensemble comedy "The Watch," which carried a reported production budget of $68 million, opened at #3 with just $13 million. Starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as a group of neighbors who stumble upon an alien invasion, "The Watch" had its own problems with headlines earlier this year. Following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain, the movie's title was switched from "Neighborhood Watch" to the abbreviated version to avoid any connection with the event.
The $11.8 million collected by the fourth "Step Up" movie, "Step Up Revolution," was in line with industry expectations, though still a disappointment for Summit Entertainment. The studio bankrolled the movie's $33 million production budget without the help of Walt Disney Studios, who had partnered with them on the previous entries in the dance movie franchise.
On the independent film front, "Ruby Sparks" earned $151,881 in 13 locations during its debut weekend in theaters. The R-rated romantic comedy is the second film from the directors of the low-budget "Little Miss Sunshine," a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards that eventually grossed more than $100 million worldwide. "Killer Joe," an NC-17 rated crime thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Oscar winner William Friedkin ("The French Connection"), made just under $38,000 on three screens. By comparison, that's a per-screen average of $12,621 vs. the $11,683 per-screen average for "Ruby Sparks." Last month's "Moonrise Kingdom," from filmmaker Wes Anderson ("Rushmore"), is expected to cross the $40 million mark later this week, despite playing in fewer than 900 locations.
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